United Kingdom

Met Office warns of travel chaos as temperatures plunge to -9C overnight

Travel chaos is set to grip parts of Britain today as the country endures chilly but bright weather - as forecasters warn milder conditions and the risk of flooding are just around the corner.

Last night temperatures nearly hit -10C in parts of the country, with Katesbridge in Northern Ireland and Sennybridge in Wales enduring a chill of -9.7C.

A yellow weather warning for ice persists across all of Northern Ireland and Wales, along with much of England, with a snow and ice warning for western Scotland - meaning roads and railways will likely be affected with longer journey times.

The Met Office said the weekend's snowfall should remain on the ground through Monday, but by Wednesday temperatures across the south could have jumped back up to 10C or 12C.

With the milder weather comes a greater risk of flooding, with further problems possible in southern parts by the end of the week.

Met Office meteorologist Simon Partridge said: 'It's a bit of a rollercoaster from cold and wintry conditions to wet and windy ones.

The Derby West Response police account posted on Twitter: 'Brrr a very cold first day shift back for group 4. We are out the station before the clock has even started making sure our cars are free of snow and fit for purpose. Make sure you all do the same and drive only if essential. Keep safe everyone'

Frost on the roads this morning in Manchester, January 25. Temperatures last night nearly hit -10C in parts of the country, with Katesbridge in Northern Ireland and Sennybridge in Wales enduring a chill of -9.7C

Temperatures last night nearly hit -10C in parts of the country, with Katesbridge in Northern Ireland and Sennybridge in Wales enduring a chill of -9.7C. Pictured left: Minimum temperatures last night. Right: The weather this morning

A yellow weather warning for ice persists across all of Northern Ireland and Wales, along with much of England, with a snow and ice warning for western Scotland

'We are keeping an eye on rainfall totals because there are some areas that are very sensitive to rainfall and there is further possible flooding as we go through the second half of the week.'

The return of a warmer weather front will bring more anxiety to communities hit hard by Storm Christoph last week.

A recent investigation by Greenpeace's investigative arm Unearthed and the Guardian found many of flood defences across England could be in a state of disrepair following years of high rainfall.

Freedom of Information requests found 3,400 flood defence assets were deemed to be in a poor condition last year - 6% of all structures in England - by Environment Agency inspectors.

Many areas in northern, central England and Wales, particularly towns and villages along the River Severn, endured flooding last week.

According to the Guardian and Unearthed investigation, as many as one in 10 flood defences in these regions were in disrepair in 2019-20.

Residents of Bewdley in Worcestershire were hit by flooding for the third year in a row last week and residents have appealed directly to the Government for their defences to be upgraded.

A snowy road in Kew, southwest London, after swathes of the UK woke up to snow and ice on January 24

The Environment Agency said, over the last year, repairs had been prioritised in areas at greatest risk.

A spokesman said: 'We maintain approximately 78,000 flood assets across England, 95% of which are in good condition and repairs prioritised where there is significant threat to lives and livelihoods.

'Our 2020 recovery programme inspected over 20,000 assets and, supported by a £120 million government investment, all of our assets are winter ready either through repairs or, where these have not been completed, robust contingency plans are in place.'

It said in areas where repairs were unfinished, it had deployed temporary barriers, and also had 250 high volume pumps available, 6,500 trained staff and a network of trained contractors.

A spokesperson for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said: 'We know how flooding can devastate communities, which is why since 2015 a record figure of £2.6 billion has been invested in flood schemes, better protecting 300,000 homes, and over the next six years we are doubling that investment - £5.2 billion for 2,000 new defences to better protect a further 336,000 properties.'

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